10 Questions with ... Simon Conway
April 19, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started life as a journalist at just 16 years old and then worked on a variety of newspapers, including national ones in the UK, before setting up my own corporate communications company. Since coming to the USA and beginning my talk radio career, have worked increasingly as a fill-in across the country including stints on WOAI/San Antonio for Joe Pags, WRVA/Richmond for Doc Thompson, KOGO/San Diego, and others.
1. You were a journalist before going into radio -- what prompted you to go into talk radio? How did you do it?
I genuinely believe you have to have something important to say. I have a unique perspective and although I am a conservative, I am most certainly not a cookie cutter talk host. I have -- as I say on the air -- already lived through where we are headed, and so I'm able to look at where we are moving and know how it will probably turn out.
How did I do it? The American way! I worked hard and never stopped believing.
2. How did you come to your conservative views? What in your life and development do you think led you to this way of thinking?
I lived through socialism. In fact I was at one time an active union member. It was when the UK's National Union of Journalists sent Libya messages of sympathy in 1986 following air raids that I quit that union that I had been so active in. My own business was very successful and I had already realized that success was frowned upon in the UK -- not to mention taxed to the point of making my 14 hour days worthless!
3. You're now joining WHO, which is a heritage station and a dominant media force in Iowa going back for decades. How are you approaching the move -- how are you planning to acclimate yourself to the station and the market (learning as you go, or cramming with as much information about local politics in advance)?
I have been very aware of the history of this great radio station for some time. When I was offered the job it took me about half a second to say yes. Immediately I began reading and haven't stopped. The first week on the air has been a great success, and on Saturday, I gave a speech at the Tax Day Tea Party Rally at the State Capitol. I keep saying that I feel like I've come home. It really does feel that way.
4. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the near future of the nation? Why?
I am always optimistic because this is the greatest nation on the face of the planet. It is the people -- not the so-called leaders -- who have made it that way. And no matter what they do to us in DC, the people will find a way to reclaim this country. The near future? Doesn't look good.
5. Of what are you most proud?
My daughters. I raised two incredible young women who make me proud every single day.
6. You became a citizen in 2008. As an American by choice, why did you choose this country? How does that affect your views on illegal immigration?
Why the USA? This is the home of Freedom -- even if our freedom seems to be under some new attack almost every single day. Our entire immigration policy needs dramatic reform, but there is no point reforming anything until someone gets serious about our borders. I came in through the front door; those who don't have broken the law and should be rounded up and sent back to where they came from.
7. Who are your mentors and inspirations in the business?
Mentors -- easy question. Randall Bloomquist of Talk Frontier Media. I wouldn't have made it without him. We worked tirelessly together for 18 months. Fixing my mistakes and raising my profile in the industry and ignoring the disappointments and the numerous "your accent won't work in this market" comments. I'm hosting Afternoon Drive on WHO in Des Moines, Iowa!!!!
8. What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? What's the plan?
Plan? I'm supposed to have a plan? In ten years time technology will have advanced to the point where people will be having the Simon Conway App implanted in their brain so they are never without me! :)
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without __________.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
The best: be me! It's actually all I really know how to be, but I know hosts who fake it and I can't imagine how that must feel.
The worst? "You'll never make it with that accent." Before landing one of the best jobs in talk radio, I have been successful as a fill in on the air in places like South Texas, Kentucky, Birmingham, AL and Richmond, VA. The accent makes me instantly recognizable. A very bankable asset.